Saturday, 9 July 2016

Ezekiel and Bible History

Ezekiel's vision of a Temple can't all be still future. 

Ezekiel wrote his vision to the Jews of the captivity, intending that they act on what they read. How could they act on it, if it's all still in the future?

If it's all still future, it would mean the Prophets had nothing to say to the Jews at a time when the Jews needed it most.

It would even be misleading, because it reads like it was intended to speak into their circumstances.

It would imply a return to Levitical worship in future, including animal blood sacrifices for sin, because the vision described that. But the teaching of the New Testament rules that out.

It would also mean Jesus was too early in history to be Messiah - because the Prophets described Messiah coming in the historical context of an already-regathered Israel, a rebuilt Temple and a functioning Levitical priesthood.

So some of it at least must have already seen some fulfilment in some sense. The Bible provides the history: a temple was indeed rebuilt, and Levitical worship did indeed resume, at the return from captivity; and Messiah indeed has come - in that historical context, while the Old Covenant still stood. 

It's just that much of the descriptive language used by Ezekiel was likely symbol. Also, the Prophets did sometimes touch on themes which are still to culminate in future: themes like the Second Coming, resurrection, and final judgment. But a lot of Old Testament Prophecy really set the historical stage on which Messiah came. 

He came and made a New Covenant for us in His blood. Therefore whatever the future holds, it needn't involve a return to the shadow - no matter when, no matter how, and no matter who.

As Jesus said to a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

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